Business rating: 2.5/5 stars
Star cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon.
Plot: Mutants Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr take on the evil scientist, Sebastian Shaw, who wants to trigger a nuclear holocaust between Russia and the US.
What’s Good: The racy screenplay; the well-executed action sequences; the engaging drama in the second-half.
What’s Bad: The performances could have been better; the love angle in the film doesn’t work.
Verdict: X-Men: First Class is an entertaining film which will do good business at the Indian box-office.
Loo break: None.
Watch or Not?: Watch it if you are an X-Men comic fan, or want to join the group.
Marvel Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation’s X-Men: First Class is the prequel in the X-Men series of films, which are dominated by the war between two groups of mutants led by arch-rivals Professor X and Magneto.
During World War II, Erik Lehnsherr, a young Jewish refugee in a concentration camp in Germany, is taken into custody by a Nazi scientist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw knows that Erik is a mutant who has the power of magnetism. In order to trigger Erik’s latent power, Shaw murders Erik’s mother in front of his eyes.
Meanwhile, in New York, Charles Xavier, a young mutant boy who has the power of telepathy, meets a young, shape-shifting girl mutant named Raven. Both are happy to find out that they are not the only ones of their kind.
After two decades, a freed Erik (Michael Fassbender) is in search of Shaw so that he can avenge his mother’s death, while Charles (James McAvoy), an Oxford graduate, has become an expert on mutation. A CIA agent, Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne), finds out about the existence of mutants when she sees Shaw and his minions torturing a US Army officer. MacTaggart then seeks Charles’ help to convince her bosses. After the CIA bosses are convinced about the existence of mutants, Charles and Raven are taken to a covert facility. There, Charles is able to access Shaw’s mind and learn of his evil plans by using the CIA’s superior technology.
In the meantime, Erik attacks Shaw, and when Shaw escapes in his submarine, Erik tries to stop him, but Charles stops Erik and saves him from drowning. Soon, Erik joins hands with Charles to locate mutants from the world over and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw.
In the meantime, Shaw plans to trigger a nuclear war between Russia and the US by starting a missile crisis in Cuba. As the US president institutes a naval blockade, and the Russians send in their own fleet, Shaw’s evil designs are nearly accomplished. But Charles, Erik and their group of mutants attack Shaw’s submarine at the last hour in a brave attempt to avert the impending disaster. What happens next? Are the mutants able to save the day? What happens to Shaw? Why do Charles (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto) finally split ways? The rest of the film answers these questions.
X-Men: First Class Review – Script Analysis
X-Men: First Class is the extension of the comic book story, where the story-writers (Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer) have created back stories for the comic’s characters. While there are several references to real-life incidents (the World War II, the Cuban missile crisis, etc.), in order to add authenticity to the story, the plot primarily revolves around the relationship between Charles and Erik. As such, the other parallel stories (Shaw and his evil plans) or the love angle between Raven and another mutant, don’t really work. However, since the screenplay (by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn) is racy and impactful, the viewer has little to complain about.
The sequences where the newly-discovered mutants are trained to control their special powers by Charles, as well as the climactic action scenes, are very well-executed. Fans of the X-Men franchise will definitely find the film a rewarding experience. Others, who are not familiar with the concept, will also find the film to be an engaging experience.
X-Men: First Class Trailer
X-Men: First Class Review – Star Performances & Direction
James McAvoy does well but he has been miscast in the role of Charles. Michael Fassbender is okay as Erik. Kevin Bacon does an average job is Shaw. Jennifer Lawrence (as Raven) acts well. Rose Byrne, January Jones (Emma Frost), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Lucas Till (Havok) and Oliver Platt (officer) fill the bill.
Matthew Vaughn’s direction is effective as he manages to maintain the pace of the drama and choreograph the action sequences in an exciting manner to make the film engaging. Henry Jackman’s background score is appropriate. John Mathieson’s cinematography is very good. Visual effects are excellent. Editing, by Eddie Hamilton and Lee Smith, is fine.
X-Men: First Class Review – Verdict
On the whole, X-Men: First Class is an engaging and entertaining fare in spite of a few flaws in the story. Expect it to do well at the Indian box-office.